Pooh for Egyptian School Kids

teaperson writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that the US government is funding a program to provide book collections in Arabic and English for every school in Egypt. The program is not just designed to provide goodwill for America, but also includes training in encouraging reading, and efforts to revitalize Egypt's publishing industry. "It's amazing," says teacher and librarian Manal Gamal Kamel. "The way they look - the students can hardly wait to pick them up and read them.""


This is a wonderful rpogram and way overdue. Too few books are translated into Arabic, and the publishing industry in the Middle East needs strong encouragement. This program should be expanded into all other Middle Eastern countries, to give the children a chance to read in Arabic many of the classics of the world's literature.
And when that is done, then the same should be done for adult literature. Today, if an Arab student wants to read anything written outside their own country, often they have to learn another language. More books are translated into Spanish each year than have been translated into Arabic since the 9th century.
Also, this can lead to cross-Arab literacy. Far too often, many Arab students and adults have no access to the best of Arab literature from around the world. Moroccan readers have no idea what is the best of Syrian Arab literature, and this cross-fertilazation of ideas and intellectual stimulation is something that Arabic literature truely needs.
"Reading is fundamental" and in fundamentalist societies, the killer of intolerance. There is no other program the US government can provide so cheaply that will have som many positive lessons over time.

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